Awhina August, the new Bay of Plenty Maori Economic Development Navigator. Photo/Supplied

Fostering the Bay of Plenty’s Maori economy by unlocking the potential of the emerging Maori workforce is a key focus of Awhina August’s new role as Kaihautu Ohanga Maori – Bay of Plenty Maori economic development navigator.

Ms August, of Ngati Ranginui, Ngai Te Rangi, Ngati Rangiwewehi and Te Whanaua Apanui iwi affiliations, will play a key role in the implementation of the Bay of Plenty’s He Mauri Ohooho Maori economic development action plan, part of the Bay of Plenty regional growth study.

He Mauri Ohooho co-lead Te Horipo Karaitiana said Ms August’s role would focus initially on supporting Maori education and skills initiatives.

She would also connect investment opportunities already identified by He Mauri Ohooho over the past two years.

More than 40,000 new jobs are expected in the region by 2050 and it is essential that our young people are prepared, Mr Karaitiana said.

A collaborative approach is needed and “He Rangatahi, He Anamata” – a call to action encourages collaboration across the Bay’s industries, education sector, local Iwi and Maori organisations to build pathways into meaningful opportunities for Maori youth.

Ms August’s role enables better co-ordination of regional initiatives and helps build awareness of what’s working well across sectors that we can learn from and apply in other areas to achieve better outcomes for Maori.

“The Kaihautu Ohanga Maori role will help to advance projects focused on our Maori ecosystems including horticulture, Maori land utilisation and water,” Mr Karaitiana said.

Ms August said she was passionate about seeing Maori succeed and brought her significant experience in business and community leadership to the role.

She has spent the past three years establishing key relationships with iwi, local and national government agencies, tertiary providers, schools and community partners.

Her recent major projects include the Mataatua me Takitimuki Tauranga secondary schools kapa haka regionals called Te Haka a Toi 2017, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Maori capability conference – Te Oniao 2016 and the National Maori housing conference 2016.

The Kaihautu Ohanga Maori (Bay of Plenty Maori economic development navigator) has been funded in partnership between Bay of Connections, the region-wide economic development strategy, Te Puni Kokiri and Priority One.

Source: Rotorua Daily Post

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